Simon Denny was raised in Essex and educated at Brentwood School.
He joined the Army in 1976. After officer training at RMA Sandhurst he joined the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and served in Germany and Northern Ireland before completing a degree at Exeter University. He later served with the Royal Army Educational Corps and completed a MA at Warwick University (part time) before leaving the Army in 1986.
After the Army he joined Tesco where he rose to become head of corporate management development. He was also head of training support for major corporate projects.
In 1992 he went to Nene College of Higher Education, which subsequently became the University of Northampton. There he was responsible for accredited management development until 2000. The corporate programmes he designed and managed won three National Training Awards between 1996 and 1999. He also completed his PhD at the Open University. In 2000 he moved into managing large-scale funded projects, particularly those tackling disadvantage through enterprise. He also led the University’s strategy in social enterprise, social innovation and social impact. He received five promotions at the University.
In 2006 Simon was awarded the University’s Court Award for services to local enterprise. He became Professor of Entrepreneurship in 2007. In 2010 he was granted The Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion.
His final role at the University was as Executive Dean: Research, Impact and Enterprise, giving him responsibility for devising and implementing the University’s research and enterprise strategy. He retired in late 2018 and now works as an independent researcher and consultant.
He is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Educators, where he acts as military liaison officer and leads the special interest group in military education. He is also a trustee of the Company’s charitable funds. In addition, he is a director of two social enterprises and was, until recently, Chair of Northampton Leisure Trust.
Simon’s hobbies include birdwatching, fishing and shooting. He is a supporter of RAF Music Services and other service charities. His son is currently a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF Regiment and his daughter is a lawyer in a City of London firm.